Your Vision for Arts + Culture
Yes. By the end of our first four years in government we will double the province’s investment in the BC Arts Council.
Will you take an active role on behalf of your community to lobby senior levels of government to increase levels of investment to the BC Arts Council?
Yes. Arts and culture is a part of our community here in Vernon-Monashee. I am proud that our government will be supporting the industry and I will ensure that our local artists’ voices are heard. I think our area has some of the most talented artists you can find in BC and I believe they’re worthy of our support. I also know that if we can work with multiple levels of government, we are more likely to get stronger support for this critical sector.
If you are in favour of increased investment in arts, culture, and heritage for our province and committed to lobbying senior levels of government for increases to the BC Arts Council, would you require additional advocacy support from the BC Alliance for Arts + Culture? If so, how can we help?
If you’re going to govern responsibly then you have to have policies based on hard facts and figures. I believe the BC Alliance for Arts and Culture will need to play an important role in ensuring that the new funds given to the arts and culture sector are being used where they are the most beneficial. As a teacher, I start my year with my students by listening to them so I can be an effective teacher. That is how I will approach my job as an MLA. I would expect to meet with arts organizations including yours to get the fullest possible understanding possible.
In your view, how can our provincial government maintain or grow the cultural sector across British Columbia?
Our province is home to some of the most talented artists in the country. Writers, musicians, painters, actors – you name it, and we’ve got the best. As a teacher myself I have seen first-hand how far kids can go when we give them the tools to succeed. I believe we need to support the arts and culture sector from the ground up by starting with our kids and ensuring they have every opportunity to follow their dreams and fine-tune their abilities. I would also love to see more government support for artist in residence programs and for arts collectives.
Cultural + Creative Spaces
Will you work to ensure access to affordable, sustainable cultural and creative spaces for artists and arts organizations in British Columbia? If so, how?
Affordability is a centerpiece of my campaign. People from all walks of life are struggling to pay their bills in BC right now and that includes artists. I believe we need to work together to make spaces more available and life more affordable for those involved in the arts sector. As you may know, the BC NDP has committed itself to building 114,000 housing units over the next ten years. I see no reason why some of those spaces can’t be created in artists’ loft type housing initiatives, particularly if the arts organizations are able to partner with our government and other levels of government.
How will you improve cultural tourism in your community? How do you propose to attract and retain artists and cultural workers in your community?
Tourism is a key industry here in the North Okanagan. Investing in our tourism industry means we’re investing in jobs. I believe that cultural tourism must play an important role in our tourism industry. Our plan lays out a framework to ensure that any trade missions embarked on by a BC NDP Government includes a tourism aspect. As we advertise our incredible region to the world we will ensure that culture is a draw alongside so many of the other things that bring people to the North Okanagan. Specifically, there are opportunities to market Vernon’s vibrant murals. I would also like to see us integrate our visual and performance artists with our burgeoning wine making industry.
What do you feel to be the single most important issue currently relating to arts, culture and heritage in British Columbia, and what action will you take to address it?
The first issue is ensuring that the industry has the funding it needs to succeed. That’s why our platform lays out a plan to increase funding for the arts and culture community. This funding increase will allow those who want to work in the arts and culture industry to have the supports they need to make a living from doing so.
How do you personally engage in the creative and cultural life of your community, and more broadly, the province? (e.g. committees, attending arts and culture events, etc.)
I love going to live theatre and music productions. I have sung in a number of choirs, most recently the Okanagan Symphony choir under the direction of Rosemary Thomson. I also own a number of pieces of original art that I display in my home. I also have a very strong indirect connection to the arts. I am married to a musician. My wife teaches music and performs in a number of musical groups. My daughter is a trained singer and actor who is presently enrolled in a B.F.A. programme (photography) at Concordia University.
If you would like to provide voters with additional information about your stance on arts, culture and heritage issues in British Columbia, please use the space below. Hint: sharing personal stories or experience about how art, culture and heritage have impacted your life are often the best way to effectively connect with your readers!
As a teacher, I see the power of the arts daily. I am fortunate to teach at a high school (W.L. Seaton) that values the arts very highly. We have one of the best drama programs in BC, if not Canada. Our band program has won a number of Canadian and even international awards. We also have a strong visual arts program. A number of the students who participate in these programs are young people who may not have found another avenue to shine. The arts give them their wings. I saw this most clearly with my own daughter. She did alright in academics, but it was never her passion. When she got involved in singing and acting, though, she came alive. She went from a fairly shy, young girl in grade eight to a strong, confident woman who owned the stage as Audrey in a community production of Little Shop of horrors in her graduating year. Are the arts important? Absolutely.